An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center
Diego Rivera was born December 8, 1886, in Guanajuato, Mexico. At the age of ten, he began studying art at the San Carlos Academy in Mexico City, in the shop of Félix Parra. In 1907, Rivera received a travel grant and went to Spain to study under Eduardo Chicharro. While in Europe, he traveled to England and Belgium, but he eventually settled in Paris. It was in Paris that Rivera was influenced by Picasso, Braque, Klee, Dérain, Mondrian, and Cézanne. From 1909 to 1920, Rivera traveled around Europe with Angelina Beloff, a young Russian painter. Between 1913 and 1917, Rivera made more than 200 Cubist paintings, but after a falling out with Picasso, and a dispute with the critic Pierre Reverdy, he turned away from Cubism, and began to work more in the style of Cézanne.
While in Paris, Rivera also met fellow Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros. In 1921, following the Mexican Revolution, Rivera and Siqueiros returned to Mexico. There, together with other artists, including José Clemente Orozco, they formed the Painters' Syndicate, which issued a manifesto promoting public murals with social context. It was during this time that Rivera joined the Mexican Communist Party. In December 1921, Rivera started painting his first major mural for the Bolivar Auditorium of the National Preparatory School in Mexico City. Murals that followed included works for the Ministry of Public Education building in Mexico City, the National School of Agriculture at Chapingo, the Cortés Palace at Cuernavaca, and the National Palace in Mexico City. In 1922, Rivera married Guadalupe Marin, by whom he had two daughters. Their marriage fell apart in 1924, and in August 1929 Rivera married the artist Frida Kahlo.
In the early 1930s, Rivera traveled to the United States, where he created murals which included works for the Pacific Stock Exchange in San Francisco, the San Francisco Art Institute, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Rockefeller Center and the New Workers’ School in New York City. His Rockefeller Center mural, Man at the Crossroads, was unfinished and subsequently destroyed by the Center because one of the depicted figures resembled Vladimir Lenin. (Rivera later reproduced this mural at the Palace of Fine Arts, Mexico City.)
As a result of the Rockefeller Center scandal, Rivera was without mural commissions for a few years. During this time he produced more portraits and easel paintings.
In Rivera’s last years, he created several murals for buildings in Mexico City, including Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park for the Hotel del Prado in Mexico City, and From the Pre-Hispanic Civilization to the Conquest for the National Palace. Rivera died November 24, 1957, in Mexico City.
The Diego Rivera Art Collection consists of one oil painting, three watercolor paintings, one pastel and one crayon drawing, and two lithographs by Diego Rivera, dating to the 1930s. There is also one reproductive print of a painting. Subjects include market scenes, scenes of daily life, and Rivera himself in a self-portrait from 1930. The following list of items is arranged by title.
An additional work by Rivera, a portrait drawing of Jean Cocteau, is found in the Carlton Lake Art Collection. Three related works by Rivera's wife, Frida Kahlo, can be found in the Art Collection's Nickolas Muray Collection of Mexican Art; one work, Diego y Yo, is a portrait drawing of Kahlo and Rivera.
Open for research. A minimum of twenty-four hours is required to pull art material to the Reading Room.
Gifts, 1964, 1966
Alice Egan, 1997, and Helen Young, 2001
Diego Rivera Art Collection--Item List